How to reduce your home energy use and costs
Reducing energy use and making our homes more energy efficient are really important steps we can take to help tackle climate change. We have pulled together some actions you can take to save money while looking after your wellbeing and the environment this winter.
Daily changes you can make to save energy
- Adjust your heating: Turn your heating down slightly (even 1 degree could save up to 10 per cent on your bills over a year).
- Keep in your heat: Bleed your radiators. Make sure radiators aren’t covered or blocked by furniture. Close your curtains at night.
- Know how much you’re using: Get a smart meter to keep track of your energy use and monitor which appliances use the most energy. Turn appliances off rather than leaving on standby. Don’t heat empty rooms. Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Make simple swaps: Consider sometimes using a microwave, slow cooker or air-fryer (if you have them), which are much cheaper to run than an oven. Wash clothes at 30 degrees, and air-dry your clothes rather than using a tumble dryer.
- Save energy in the kitchen: Rather than filling your kettle up to the top, boil what you need and make sure dishwashers and washing machines are full before using.
The Energy Saving Trust has an online guide showing the potential cost saving for each of these changes.
Low-cost changes to your home
- Switch to energy saving lightbulbs.
- Reduce draughts from doors and windows with draught-proofing tape, radiator foil, window film.
- If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is fitted with a hot water tank jacket.
- Insulate hot water pipes where they are exposed.
Investing in home improvements
- Replace failing appliances with the most energy efficient models where possible (e.g. ‘A+++’); it may cost more upfront, but will save you money over its lifetime.
- All private rented tenants, landlords and homeowners can contact Better Housing Better Health on 0800 1070044 for information about grants towards free/discounted insulation, boilers and draught proofing
- If you are a homeowner, visit the Cosy Homes Oxfordshire website to use their free Plan Builder tool to help understand how make your whole house more energy efficient. Measures include:
- Insulating loft/roof, walls, and floors. A quarter of household heat is lost through badly insulated lofts and roofs, and a third through uninsulated walls. It costs to insulate, but there are often grants to help, and you’ll make the money back in a few years.
- Double (or triple) glaze all windows.
- Replacing your old boiler – the Energy Saving Trust provides a useful summary of options, such as air source heat pumps.
- Installing rooftop solar panels.
- Private tenants should speak to their landlord if they think the energy efficiency of their home could be improved. The Energy Performance Certificate of every house can be found on the Government’s website. This will help identify where improvements can be made.
- Housing association tenants should speak directly to their housing association, SOHA or Sovereign.
Who to speak to for help
- See our housing team’s page for details of grants available to improve your home
- Better Housing Better Health – Oxfordshire residents with health needs can access with Better Housing Better Health+ service which offers free home energy visits
- Cosy Homes Oxfordshire – this is a paid-for service for homeowners to help make homes more energy efficient
- Energy Saving Trust – this website has lots of information for how to save money on your energy bills, as well as guidance on reducing the carbon footprint of your home
- Citizen’s Advice or Vale Community Impact – these organisations offer free, confidential advice on a full range of issues such as money matters, housing, employment and consumer rights
Financial help and grants
- Loans and grants from the government – there are a range of loans and grants available to residents to improve the warmth, safety and security of their homes. More information can be found on our home improvements website page.
- Energy suppliers – to discuss getting a smart meter fitted, or if you worried about your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier. Ofgem also has useful information for households concerned about their home energy